1 March 1838
|Died||17 August 1870 (aged 32)
Jules Léotard (French: [leɔpaʁ]; 1 March 1838 – 17 August 1870) was a revolutionary French acrobatic performer and aerialist who developed the art of trapeze. He also popularised the one-piece gym wear that now bears his name and inspired the 1867 song "The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze" sung by George Leybourne.
After he passed his law exams, he seemed destined to join the legal profession. But at 18 he began to experiment with trapeze bars, ropes and rings suspended over a swimming pool. Léotard later joined the Cirque Napoleon.
The costume he invented was a one-piece knitted garment streamlined to suit the safety and agility concerns of trapeze performance. It also showed off his physique, impressed the ladies and inspired the song sung by George Leybourne.
- http://www.vam.ac.uk/content/articles/j/jules-leotard/ V&A biography notes
- V&A museum biography
- Michael Diamond, Victorian Sensation, (Anthem Press, 2003) ISBN 1-84331-150-X. Pp. 262–264.